Officials of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament’s 3rd Annual Great Marlin Race report that all 10 satellite tags have now been deployed with the last one attached to an estimated 150-pound Pacific blue marlin Aug. 28. Tag sponsors and avid anglers Patricia Steele and Sherry Vann have dubbed their marlin “Merlin the Marlin.”
As in the past three HIBTs, all anglers and teams entered were eligible to enter the Great Marlin Race by purchasing satellite tags for $4,000 that once attached to a fish, will measure its mileage away from Hawaii at the end of 120 days. The team whose marlin has traveled the furthest distance from Hawaii will be declared the winner and will receive a free entry for up to six anglers to the 2012 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.
But because only five tags had been put out during the tournament, the remaining tags were distributed among boat captains in Kona to deploy as soon as possible in the days following the race. And as the race is about distance, all tags are programed to pop up to the surface 120 days after being deployed to report their positions.
The proceeds from the Great Marlin Race will contribute to a joint venture between the Pacific Ocean Research Foundation, Stanford University, and Global Tagging of Pelagic Predators.
Stanford University’s Dr. Randy Kochevar shared one special highlight of this year’s race:“On August 12, Fish Nine was caught by angler Ann Fohey and tagged by Terry Fohey, on board the (sportfisher) “Northern Lights” with Captain Kevin Nakamaru and Mat Bowman. This marlin, estimated to weigh 800 pounds, was by far the largest fish electronically tagged over the past three years of the Great Marlin Race. It will be amazing to see how far she goes!” (The fish was identified as “she” as male Pacific blue marlin don’t ever weigh much over 300 pounds.)